Parting Shot: Jokes and Jams

Next time someone asks you what kind of music you like, try telling them you don’t care for it.
And then watch as they look at you like a serial killer. It’s probably a good way to spot a Terminator cyborg. Everyone listens to music, and everyone likes what they like.
The Misfits are probably my favorite band. I realize they’re not geniuses like Bach or Lou Reed or anything, but they give me exactly what I want out of music. I just like to flip it on and bob my head to something with a good hook, an upbeat pace, and catchy lyrics.
But most of all, it’s just music.
No message
No pretense
No frill.
Just some jerks with instruments playing loud songs about sci-fi movies.
I’m a comedian. My tastes in music are simple. I tell jokes, but I would love to rock. To rock would be a great gift, but comedians don’t rock. The self-abasement involved in comedy is the opposite of what you need to be a rock star. I couldn’t get up there like they do and start off a bit like that.

“HOW’S EVERYONE DOING TONIGHT! Yeah! Alright, this first joke I wrote one night while I was on the bus and I met someone very special. It’s called ‘That Time the Homeless Guy Whipped His Junk out on the 2,’ and it goes a little something like this…”

All grinding on the microphone while I tell it. Panties flying at me from the crowd. I look back at another comedian standing behind me and say, “I think it’s gonna be a good night,” or whatever rock stars say to each other when they’re talking on stage.
By the way, it’s gotta be weird for that drummer. He’s back there where nobody can see him, having to just look at the rest of the band’s asses all night. He gets that one solo a night where he’s god for 40 seconds, then he’s a phantom again when the band goes into their good stuff at the end.
To whit: you gotta put the good stuff at the end. One of my friends got tickets to see Bon Jovi one time. It was in high school and I told him I didn’t know if I wanted to be seen at a Bon Jovi concert. He said:
“Dude, I know. We’re not gonna see anybody there. We’ll stay until he plays Livin’ on a Prayer’ and then we’re outta there.”
So we show up at the Bon Jovi concert, and we knew everybody. It was uncanny. The radio station couldn’t give these tickets away fast enough, so everyone we knew had some free tickets. It was like running into someone while you’re buying condoms or something. A lot of averted eye contact. Anyone I talked to, it was the same exchange:
“So…‘Living On A Prayer?’”
We all sit through the new crap Bon Jovi’s trying to push and no one cares about. Then, like an idiot, he plays “Living On A Prayer”…third. Everybody rocks out like no one’s watching for the whole song and then when it’s over, there’s a big cartoon cloud and the entire place empties out. The rumble of all the cars in the parking lot starting up at once sounded like a tornado sweeping in.
That wasn’t my only transgression, either. I’ve got a stockpile of shitty music that I can never admit to liking around my music friends. It’s like a badge of shame or a dead body I’ve hidden under the stairs. Ya know…Hootie and shit. Maybe a smidgen – possibly – of Madonna’s Ray of Light. A search of my Spotify history may or may not reveal that I’ve listened to “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus a time or two.
Hey, f#%k you.
You know that song isn’t that bad.
Hell, I was walking behind this biker who was listening to music on his iPhone when he dropped it and yanked the headphone jack out. There’s Miley blasting from the little speaker. He had the same look on his face as that guy who tore his hazmat suit open in the Outbreak lab. A biker, scrambling to plug his headphones back in on High Street. We all know what you were grooving on, man.
If you’ve never played a song on your iPod that you didn’t check twice to make sure the headphone jack was securely in before it started, you’re a damn liar. It’s not our fault. Pop music is designed to infect your brain. They play it everywhere, like some kind of mind control. I know all the lyrics to “Single Ladies,” and I’ve never once wanted to listen to that song.
Seriously, I didn’t.
Swear to God…
Fine, I’ll put a spy camera in your car and see what you’re singing along to when no one else is around. How’d that be? Nothing incriminating going on in there, right?
Yeah…that’s what I thought. •